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Saliency-Aware Neural Architecture Search

Ramtin Hosseini · Pengtao Xie

Hall J (level 1) #703


Recently a wide variety of NAS methods have been proposed and achieved considerable success in automatically identifying highly-performing architectures of neural networks for the sake of reducing the reliance on human experts. Existing NAS methods ignore the fact that different input data elements (e.g., image pixels) have different importance (or saliency) in determining the prediction outcome. They treat all data elements as being equally important and therefore lead to suboptimal performance. To address this problem, we propose an end-to-end framework which dynamically detects saliency of input data, reweights data using saliency maps, and searches architectures on saliency-reweighted data. Our framework is based on four-level optimization, which performs four learning stages in a unified way. At the first stage, a model is trained with its architecture tentatively fixed. At the second stage, saliency maps are generated using the trained model. At the third stage, the model is retrained on saliency-reweighted data. At the fourth stage, the model is evaluated on a validation set and the architecture is updated by minimizing the validation loss. Experiments on several datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework.

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